Val Seet is currently serving as a befriender and committee member in the Hospitality Ministry in the Young Adults Ministry at Living Praise Presbyterian Church.
How did you start serving in this ministry?
When my cell leader first broached the idea of me serving as an usher in the Hospitality Ministry, I was fairly new in the church at that time and the commitment did not seem too heavy; just one Sunday every few months and I only had to give out bulletins at the door — easy!
Subsequently, the same cell leader noticed that I had a natural flair for speaking to people, and got me onboard the befriending team.
As I grew closer in my walk with God over the years, that translated into me wanting to be more involved in church. I found myself attending young adult events more regularly, getting excited over them and also getting people to be excited, too.
Have you faced any difficulties serving in such a public ministry?
The first few weeks of in the befriending team were nerve-wracking! Looking at my cell leader greet each member by name, I was in awe of her commitment to get to know every member of our church. I struggled to remember names and faces, trying to decipher if the person walking through the door was new to church or just a new face to me.
I once approached a lady to ask if she was new, and to my embarrassment she replied that she had been attending the church for almost 10 years!
When you see what others receive from their serving, it’s infectious.
There was also getting over the fear of awkward conversations when speaking to a newcomer. What do you say? How much should you probe into their personal lives? How many questions should you ask? What if you have nothing left to say?
But it gets better with practice and encouragement. I needed a lot of that!
Being so visible as the first person most people meet in church, is pride ever an issue for you?
My less-mature old self used to hold the perspective that people serving in ministry are “holier” and therefore should strive to be “blameless”. While that expectation is not completely wrong — because striving for excellence is a good thing in itself — it wasn’t for me to judge how worthy someone is, for them to be serving God.
Here I don’t define pride as just being proud of yourself or your achievements. More than that – and at a more dangerous level because it can be so subtle – pride also involves thinking that you are better than someone else.
All my “goodness” and “worthiness” – if I compare myself to someone else and decide that I’m not as bad – is self-righteousness.
I sometimes stop myself and ask: “Am I doing this for reasons other than God’s glory?”
The Bible aptly put it into perspective for me in Isaiah 64:6. Our righteousness is just like filthy rags in the eyes of God. I realised how much of a horrible person I was for holding on to double standards — being able to extend grace to myself by justifying thing, but not doing the same for the others, sometimes being critical of them even without knowing the full picture.
Being conscious of the dangers of pride has greatly transformed the way I think, pray, and work. I sometimes stop myself and ask: “Am I doing this for reasons other than God’s glory?” After painfully peeling away every reason I offer up, more often than not at the core of it I usually find pride there, disguised as justification.
CS Lewis said, “Humility is not about thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” I rarely think about the attention I receive actually, because it’s not useful and does not serve any purpose at all. Just focus on the task at hand!
What do you think has serving in Church has done for your relationship with God?
Service puts you with other Christians who also want to please God, and that has an effect on your own relationship with God – when you see what others receive from their serving. It’s infectious.
You find yourself wondering what is it that makes this person say yes to all these church commitments, when he or she can actually have a relaxing weekend. And you start wanting that too.
I rarely think about the attention I receive, because it’s not useful and does not serve any purpose at all. Just focus on the task at hand!
On an individual level, it also helped me to look outward, beyond my own struggles, and I gained a better perspective about my life’s purpose. The best feeling in the world is knowing that you’re doing what you’re meant to do.